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Comment Re:Republic vs Democracy (Score 1) 490

The word "democracy", when unqualified, means representative democracy, not direct (doesn't make it less "pure" or "true") democracy. Most people with a basic education in the US, and elsewhere, understand that. They also understand there's no contradiction between Democracy and Republic. Your comment reads like a prefabricated argument to explain why you vote Republican.

Comment Re:Red Cross (Score 1) 39

While there is some overlap between "facebook friends" and actual friends, those groups are very different.

The feature is convenient on FB and Google, but the problem is redundancy. They serve the same purpose, but they run different databases. Suppose a person in the disaster area who uses G+ frequently and FB rarely. They may never realize FB has the person finder feature, so they mark themselves as safe on G+ but not on FB, or vice-versa.

That sort of confusion is avoided if only one website provides the feature.

Comment Re:Remember, kids.. (Score 2) 129

These files were stolen by a disgruntled employee and sold to various governments.

That's not an undisputed fact. It is the version of the story supported by Swiss authorities and banks. In his own version, mostly supported by some French officials, he claims that he never asked for any money and that he first contacted the authorities of Switzerland and of other countries, and decided to leak the data when they ignored him.

Comment Re:Should be interesting RE- Nato (Score 1) 375

it will mean England finally gets their own parliament as well, kinda stupid that Scotland has power over England but not vice versa.

Regardless of Scottish independence, England can create their own parliament, and keep Westminster's power restricted to union-wide matters. Why didn't that happen yet? Correct me if I am wrong but I believe Scotland has never opposed an England parliament.

Comment Re:Should be interesting RE- Nato (Score 1) 375

Not really - what all of those sources say is that Scotland's accession won't be automatic like Salmond suggests. Spain's government says they will have to go through the long, due process which current EU candidates are undergoing, which is only fair and obvious, and the current Spain's foreign minister can't comment on what they will do or refrain from doing at certain, hypothetical, point in the future, which is common sense. Any other comment could the be seen as interfering with Scotland's vote, and Spain's government may be completely different from the current one when and if Scotland applies to join the EU. As much as I despise the current Spanish government, those comments (which are more like a "no comment" answer) are the only acceptable comments.

And it's not like Spain has the political weight to cause a shitstorm in the EU. If any state were to veto Scotland, that would be other, more influential state, such as France, which also has secessionist movements. But I really doubt it. They're not really comparable cases.

Comment Re: What about... (Score 1) 155

Happy, contented people don't buy a lot of useless crap (like cigarettes for example).

That's right. But by "living longer and better-quality lives" I don't mean "Happy, contented" - I mean non-smoking. Non-smokers can still be materialistic, impulse buyers, and, because their life span and life quality are, in average, superior, they can buy more useless crap.

Comment Re:Flash panic (Score 1) 161

even purely observational academic studies need ethical approval and informed consent.

In what jurisdiction?

That's interesting, because a lot of "purely observational academic studies" have been done with no informed consent at all.

Examples: - Robert Levine's experiments linking a city population's average walking speed with their degree of helpfulness and their health (actually, this is not merely observational - parts of those experiments involved getting people to pick up dropped pens, return lost letters, etc). That was done in many parts of the world including the USA.

- In a car, sitting at a red light. Wait for it to go green, and deliberately fail to move off. Measure how long it takes for drivers behind to honk. Then do the same thing on a car with a foreign plate and compare results. They did that one in Western Europe, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately I can't find a link to that one, but I think I also read about that one on Quirkology.

Neither of those experiments (and many more, those two are just off the top of my head) were done with informed consent. That would have rendered them completely useless, obviously, due to bias.

Comment Re:Well, duh... (Score 1) 210

However they probably (for understandable reasons) don't want to do that kind of case-by-case decision making.

Regardless of how understandable their reasons are, if they aren't making the decisions case-by-case, then they are blatantly refusing to honour the ruling. However, I don't think that's what they are doing. I want to think they're simply employing the wrong people to make those decisions.

Anyway, I agree the ruling was a mess, but for another reason. The biggest problem I see is the failure to consider other search engines. They can probably force Bing to honour the ruling, because MS, like Google, has a corporate presence in the EU, but what about all the other, current and future, search engines?

The thing with the original case was that it was about information of a kind that doesn't belong in a newspaper at all. It was not a news piece, not an analysis piece, not an opinion piece. It was part of an excerpt of a government-issued journal. Those journals are available online. At the time the notice was published (the 90s in Spain), many if not most people didn't have access to the internet or didn't even know they could find the government journals online, so it may have made sense to publish portions of them on the newspapers. Today, it doesn't make sense to keep that information on the newspapers online. If they don't delete it (no, that would NOT be censorship - the information can still be found online, on the government's site), they should at least mark it as non-searchable in robots.txt.

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